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Three IPOB/ESN members killed as military vows fresh onslaught

 

A special police team yesterday stormed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/ Eastern Security Network (ESN) camp, at Imufu in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, killing three members in the ensuing gun duel.

The raid was in continuation of the recent directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja and came as the Defence Headquarters warned that the days of criminal elements in the country are numbered.

Several other members of IPOB/ESN escaped with varying degrees of injury in the aftermath of the Imufu raid, spokesman of the state police command, Daniel Ndukwe (DSP) said.

Security agencies blamed elements of the two groups for last month’s shooting and killing of two Neighbourhood Watch Group security personnel at Umuagama in Enugu-Ezike community of Igbo-Eze North L.G.A.


They were said to be the brains behind the enforcement of the illegal sit-at-home order in some parts of the L.G.A.

Ndukwe said the hoodlums had engaged the police operatives in a gun battle during the raid.

He said: “However, three of the hoodlums were neutralized in the ensuing gunfight, while many others escaped with varying degrees of severe gunshot wounds.

“Four Pump Action guns, one locally fabricated revolver gun and pistol each, 67 live cartridges, military camouflage uniforms, fabrics of IPOB insignia, objects suspected to be amulets, and other incriminating exhibits were recovered.”

Police Commissioner Ahmed Ammani lauded the operatives for successfully executing the operation, tasking them and others to remain firm, resilient and maintain the tempo.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the police to weed out unrepentant criminals in the state.

The CP further solicited the continued support of citizens of the state, while urging residents of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area and owners of medical facilities in particular, to promptly report individuals sighted with gunshot wounds to the nearest Police Station. Or by calling the Command’s emergency hotlines on 08032003702, 08075380883, 08086671202, or 08098880172, or send emails to infoenugupolice@gmail.com.

Rising from a meeting in Enugu on Thursday, South East Governors vowed to battle insecurity in the region.

“The Forum firmly resolved to fight insecurity decisively in the region individually and collectively, in partnership with the Federal Government and other Stakeholders,” the governors said through their chairman and Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma.

They commended the security agencies for their cooperation thus far and “encouraged them not to relent.”

They described the perpetrators of the insecurity in the South East and their sponsors as criminals and “should not be seen as legitimate agitators.”

“Therefore, upon arrest, they should be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.”

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba said yesterday that criminal elements across the country must now surrender or get killed.

He pledged that the military would sustain the present momentum with the cooperation of the generality of Nigerians.

“The uncommon cooperation, collaboration, and support received from citizens across the country are greatly assisting our operations to yield expected results. Nigerians are speaking up, and the military is doing something about it,” Buba said in a statement.

“Given the active participation of citizens in exposing the activities of these evil elements, their days are surely numbered. They either surrender now or exit this world. The military would sustain the momentum. Therefore if you know something, say something and the military will do something.”

He said troops have, in the last few weeks, killed 38 terrorists and arrested 175 gunmen.

He said: “During the week leading to August 11, 2023, the military neutralized 38 terrorists, arrested 175 gunmen/ criminals, 20 kidnappers, 30 collaborators, and 17 pipeline vandals.

“The military also rescued 89 kidnapped hostages. Troops denied the oil theft saboteurs the sum of N607,346,750.00 being the value of seizures.”

Buba also said between July 31 and August 3, troops arrested 18 suspected members of a criminal group in Borno known as ‘Malians’.

“Between July 31 and August 3, 2023, troops responded to intelligence of a notorious criminal gang known as Malians hibernating at Bolori 2 general area, Jajeri Bayan Quarters, and Tudu general in Maiduguri Municipal City of Borno State.

“The operation yielded results as troops arrested 18 suspected gang members. Troops recovered substances suspected to be cannabis, cough syrup, and five mobile phones.”

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, on Friday in Abuja, said the troops of 130 Battalion, operating in 13 Brigade Area of Responsibility under 82 Division, in collaboration with DSS operatives, also smashed a notorious syndicate of gun runners at Obudu in Cross River.

He said the operation followed credible intelligence revealing the illicit activities of the gunrunners in Obudu and Biaju general areas.

He said the leader of the gun-running syndicate was nabbed in the sting operation, alongside his accomplices comprising two Nigerians and two Cameroonians.

Nwachukwu said the preliminary investigations had revealed that the accomplices purchased firearms, which they in turn sold to a middleman, who supplies the arms and ammunition to Ambazonian Separatists in the Republic of Cameroon.

He added that a subsequent operation conducted on Thursday led to the arrest of the gun-running kingpin, Raphael, aka Biajua, a Cameroonian, at Biajua community in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State.

According to him, the troops also recovered four Semi-Automatic Pump Action Rifles and four mobile phones.

“The Nigerian Army enjoins the general public to remain vigilant and report any untoward activity to the security agencies, in support of ongoing operations to curb security challenges.

“The good and enterprising people of South East Nigeria are also encouraged to discountenance the illegal sit-at-home order and go about their daily activities and businesses without fear of intimidation, as ongoing operations will be sustained to counter the enforcement of the unlawful order,” he said.

Soldiers drawn from the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services, last month destroyed an IPOB/ESN enclave at Asaba, Delta State, capturing a fleeing fighter.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the troops “conducted a raid operation on the fortified enclave located in the middle of a forested high ground and are exploiting the forest in pursuit of the fleeing fighters.”

Soldiers drawn from the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services, last month destroyed an IPOB/ESN enclave at Asaba, Delta State, capturing a fleeing fighter.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the troops “conducted a raid operation on the fortified enclave located in the middle of a forested high ground and are exploiting the forest in pursuit of the fleeing fighters.”

“The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja has commended the troops and other security agencies for their effort in the ongoing operations and has charged them to sustain the momentum to restore sanity in the region.”

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